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Thread: Zebralight H51C first impressions

  1. #1

    Sigh Zebralight H51C first impressions

    Tint, I would say it is characterless, this is a good thing. I can't describe it as yellow, greenish, rosy or vanllia'sh. It is perfectly neutral to my eyes, and produces colors a lot more faithfully.

    Beam profile, the spot in the middle is a on the "tight" side of things but it also has good spill. This is what I call a true "spot/spill"

    Battery life, I gotta be honest, and say I am just a little disappointed here. My tests show about 15-20% less than advertised (to 50% brightness with duraloops).

    User interface, I have read a lot of pleased reviews about the UI, after using the light for about a week. I can say I totally agree, it has one of the best UI's for a light I have used.

    Build quality, the H51c feels very tough for such a small light, the finish is excellent. Actually the best I have now.

    Output, I notice a trend these days, new flashlight hobbyists will go after the brightest (lumens) and the tightest concentrated spot. More experience users tend to for the opposite, like a real moon light mode and good spill (not all but most). As for the H51c, it has both and the UI lets you to get to both from the off position.

    Head strap, the H51c is a headlamp anyways, it is comfortable. But I feel like it has to be on tightly for it not to bounce when walking, let alone jogging.


    Other notes: I love the easily reversible pocket clip! I am finding that I am just clipping on my shirt or belt more often than a headlamp.

    Some quick and dirty beamshots.
    Quark 1AA Warm white (left) H51C (right)




    TK20 (left) H51c (right)





    More photos will be posted when I feel inspired.

    Has anyone ever tested Zebralights actual OTF claims?

    FWIW, other lights I own:
    Fenix TK20
    Quark 1 x AA tactical
    Quark 1 x AA tactical Warm white
    Streamlight ProPolymer 4AA Lux
    Energizer Lithium 1 AA
    Energizer 1xAA headlamp
    Streamlight 1 luxeon 3 x AAA
    and many more.


    Note to Admin, there is something wrong when I have to log back in. After I log in and redirects me to a blank page without actually posting my message. If I go back, the message box is blank and I have to rewrite everything.
    Last edited by insanefred; 11-08-2011 at 07:17 AM.

  2. #2
    Flashaholic* Bolster's Avatar
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    Default Re: Zebralight H51C first impressions

    Excellent, thanks for the review. We've been needing this one!

    Quote Originally Posted by insanefred View Post
    ...I notice a trend these days, new flashlight hobbyists will go after the brightest (lumens) and the tightest concentrated spot. More experience users tend to for the opposite, like a real moon light mode and good spill (not all but most).
    So true.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Zebralight H51C first impressions

    I agree. For my EDC, I carry around the house and the yard. Looking at a burning hot spot 3-10 feet in front of me is annoying, and I have very little usable peripheral vision with a 1 foot hot spot. To me the whole point is to provide illumination in the areas that I need, which is 3 to 15 feet in front, and as wide as my peripheral vision.

    Moon light sounds good to light up a room.

    Wish for something extremely low so I can keep it on all the time (maybe even strobe at low lumen), to make the light easier to find at night.

    The best UI? I'm debating between Zebralight and Sunwayman V10R (I don't have either). Sunwayman's seems the most intuitive that anyone can use. But I like Zebralight's size/weight for EDC.

    The flashlight I have for throw was great for impressing friends, but that has worn off a long time ago.

  4. #4
    Flashaholic* Bolster's Avatar
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    Default Re: Zebralight H51C first impressions

    Quote Originally Posted by snakyjake View Post
    Wish for something extremely low so I can keep it on all the time (maybe even strobe at low lumen), to make the light easier to find at night.
    Brilliant! Now there's a strobe mode I'd actually appreciate! A low lumen blip every couple of seconds. Fantastic idea!

    I have a 3AA lantern that flashes a separate little green light every few seconds, but why not the main emitter itself, at a low level? Or maybe a smooth ramp up and down as is on my Macintosh computer (looks like it's breathing while it's sleeping).

    Sorry, I'm O.T., but this is such a great idea...maybe deserves its own thread.

    Insane, thanks for the excellent beamshots.
    Last edited by Bolster; 11-08-2011 at 02:40 PM.

  5. #5

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    Nice review.

    I myself just purchased this light. FYI, this is my first ZL and first warm led. I thought the light had a somewhat reddish tint to it. However, I feel for my specific needs (outdoors, field dressing game) it will be excellent. I like it enough that I think I'll be purchasing a neutral tint ZL to compare it to.

    However, does anyone find that when accessing the medium mode, the light flashes at the high setting before settling into medium?

  6. #6

    Default Re: Zebralight H51C first impressions

    Quote Originally Posted by Websniper View Post
    Nice review.

    I myself just purchased this light. FYI, this is my first ZL and first warm led. I thought the light had a somewhat reddish tint to it. However, I feel for my specific needs (outdoors, field dressing game) it will be excellent. I like it enough that I think I'll be purchasing a neutral tint ZL to compare it to.

    However, does anyone find that when accessing the medium mode, the light flashes at the high setting before settling into medium?
    Do you mean double clicking from off? I think it has to hit the high mode first because the first quick click goes into the high mode.
    EDC: Zebralight H52w; Backup/loaner: Olight i3S
    Zebralight Mods: http://www.candlepowerforums.com/vb/...d.php?t=293092
    The only useful tool is the one you have with you when you need it.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Zebralight H51C first impressions

    Try pressing and holding the switch. It will start on Lo, then go to Med, then Hi. If you release the switch when you get to Med and you avoid the flash of Hi.
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  8. #8
    Flashaholic* Cataract's Avatar
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    Default Re: Zebralight H51C first impressions

    100% agree with the op. I have a SC51c and a H51FW

    If you want to get the advertised runtime, you need a good quality NiMh battery that has been properly conditionned (which I think can use some improvement)

    Personal observations:
    MY older Quark neutral with the Q3 has better color rendition than the SC1c (or other recent neutrals) and the output is almost the same with better runtimes.
    My TK20 has even better color rendition (the best of all the LED lights I own so far)

    I'm a little disillusioned with so-called HCRI lights, since these used to be plain ol' neutrals... Don't get me wrong, like the SC51 and H51, but I feel there is still plenty of room for improvement when it comes to runtime/output/color rendition.
    Cataract,

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  9. #9

    Default Re: Zebralight H51C first impressions

    Quote Originally Posted by Cataract View Post
    100% agree with the op. I have a SC51c and a H51FW

    If you want to get the advertised runtime, you need a good quality NiMh battery that has been properly conditionned (which I think can use some improvement)

    Personal observations:
    MY older Quark neutral with the Q3 has better color rendition than the SC1c (or other recent neutrals) and the output is almost the same with better runtimes.
    My TK20 has even better color rendition (the best of all the LED lights I own so far)

    I'm a little disillusioned with so-called HCRI lights, since these used to be plain ol' neutrals... Don't get me wrong, like the SC51 and H51, but I feel there is still plenty of room for improvement when it comes to runtime/output/color rendition.
    Hmm, the h51c is much better than my TK20, IMO. My TK20, has too much vanilla (yellow'ish) cast to it, compared to the H51c.

  10. #10
    Flashaholic* Cataract's Avatar
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    Default Re: Zebralight H51C first impressions

    Quote Originally Posted by insanefred View Post
    Hmm, the h51c is much better than my TK20, IMO. My TK20, has too much vanilla (yellow'ish) cast to it, compared to the H51c.
    Are you talking about the tint only or the actual color rendition? I compared both with everything colorful I could find and my TK20 did in fact have better rendition than my SC51C. Of course, some of that can have something to do with the LED lottery, but the only way to find out is to have others test my finding and report what they see.
    Cataract,

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  11. #11

    Default Re: Zebralight H51C first impressions

    Quote Originally Posted by Cataract View Post
    Are you talking about the tint only or the actual color rendition? I compared both with everything colorful I could find and my TK20 did in fact have better rendition than my SC51C. Of course, some of that can have something to do with the LED lottery, but the only way to find out is to have others test my finding and report what they see.
    I have no idea what to say to you, but I have this photo to post.



    The actual improvement color rendering, is hard to notice sometimes, but it is indeed more neutral to my eyes.
    Last edited by insanefred; 11-11-2011 at 10:27 AM.

  12. #12
    Flashaholic* Cataract's Avatar
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    Default Re: Zebralight H51C first impressions

    Quote Originally Posted by insanefred View Post
    I have no idea what to say to you, but I have this photo to post.



    The actual improvement color rendering, is hard to notice sometimes, but it is indeed more neutral to my eyes.
    Nice beamshot! Good idea to make your cat more visible. I almost ran over a black cat 2 nights ago. Of course, if his master would have been smart enough to put an H51c on him, I would have noticed a lot earlier that he was trying to cross the street...

    Maybe yours has a better LED than mine... or maybe my TK20 has a better LED than yours... I have more High CRI's coming (different brand) and will make sure I compare all those together.
    Cataract,

    Shiny things specialist.

  13. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by davidt1 View Post
    Do you mean double clicking from off? I think it has to hit the high mode first because the first quick click goes into the high mode.
    Yeah,double clicking from off. That seems to be the case, it's just nice to be able to quickly get to each mode, it's a shame it has the pre-flash.

    Also, I just dumped a cheap alkaline in it, and even after light use, I find I can't access the h1 mode any longer. I assume this is because the crummy alkaline doesn't have enough juice to power it. I have some lithium primaries that I just picked up that I will try.

  14. #14

    Default Re: Zebralight H51C first impressions

    Quote Originally Posted by Websniper View Post
    Yeah,double clicking from off. That seems to be the case, it's just nice to be able to quickly get to each mode, it's a shame it has the pre-flash.

    Also, I just dumped a cheap alkaline in it, and even after light use, I find I can't access the h1 mode any longer. I assume this is because the crummy alkaline doesn't have enough juice to power it. I have some lithium primaries that I just picked up that I will try.
    I noticed very few 1xAA with regulated circuits like alkaline's.
    Last edited by insanefred; 11-12-2011 at 04:40 AM.

  15. #15
    Flashaholic DIΩDΣ's Avatar
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    Default Re: Zebralight H51C first impressions

    Quote Originally Posted by Websniper View Post
    Yeah,double clicking from off. That seems to be the case, it's just nice to be able to quickly get to each mode, it's a shame it has the pre-flash.
    Well I dont mean to argue semantics or anything (its not really a preflash)just want to make sure you know you dont have to do it that way. You can ramp from low to high or high to low. Quick clicking ramps from high to low, which is what your doing, so you are switching it to high first, then med. Press an hold cycles from low to high. If you dont want to wait the .5 seconds or whatever it is to go into medium that way, and dont like the quick flash of high, just close your eyes while you double click it, I've done that a few times.

  16. #16

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    Yes I'm aware you don't have double click as the only way to get to medium, an I realize it's not try pre flash, but rather how the ui works... It is still unfortunate that they can't get around that.

  17. #17

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    Yes I'm aware you don't have double click as the only way to get to medium, an I realize it's not try pre flash, but rather how the ui works... It is still unfortunate that they can't get around that.

  18. #18

    Default Re: Zebralight H51C first impressions

    I finally got some 2400mah Imedions.
    113 min on H2 (significant improvement.)

    63 MIN ON H1
    Last edited by insanefred; 11-16-2011 at 02:53 PM.

  19. #19
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    Default Re: Zebralight H51C first impressions

    Thinking about a H51C

    Anyone own one of these? how do you like it? I'd be using this light for camping, cooking stuff like that so high CRI is appealing.

    I can get the neutral version for about $almost 20 less though, and it's brighter which is also an appealing combo. Anyone know where I can get the H51c for less than the zebralight store?

    I have no desire for another cool white headlamp. I have a coast one my Dad bought for me and the beam is actually blue and brownish edges and only has one mode of adjustment, and I have an older princton tech headlamp with the original luxeon in it and 3 modes of brightness. It gets the job done and has served me well but I wan't an upgrade.

    The H600W is very tempting too, as I have a portable charger from 4-7's malestorm 26650's that I'll be bringing with me anyways. But there is no high CRI version of the H600, and AA's are easy to find in a pinch. Very tempting to get one due to the long runtimes, do I even need more than a single spare battery with this one?

    I was going to wait for 502, but I'mm heading off for 3 weeks in Hawaii camping trip vacation on the Big Island. I want to go exploring lava tubes n such while there. I want to be sure I have something new for the trip. I'll also be packing My Mini 123, EZ CR2, and malestorm, so I will have other lights available for backup, or throw purposes, but headlamps are way more convenient!

    I just need to make up my mind I guess. AA or 18650 (I don't have any 18650 lights at this time), NW or high CRI? If NW I'd lean towards the H600 I guess, unless that's a bad idea for camping due to battery type.

    Merged - Norm

    Thanks Norm, saw this post right after I finished.
    Last edited by Justintoxicated; 03-29-2012 at 01:06 AM.

  20. #20
    Flashaholic* psychbeat's Avatar
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    Default Re: Zebralight H51C first impressions

    ive got both neutral and hiCRI lights and the higher temp of the
    neutral sometimes has more contrast outdoors than the lower temp of the
    hiCRI.
    that said I do really like the XPG 90CRI as a flood
    (although im not sure how it compares to the Rebel in the H51c)

    I dont have the H51c but I do have the regular cool H51 and the
    runtime is pretty bad compared to my 18650 lights.

    one 3100mah 18650 has as much energy as 4 eneloops with potential
    for more lumens when needed and no need for a boost driver.

    with the h600 you could play around with difusers and filters + have spare
    lumens and runtime.
    I dont have an h600 but do have a Spark ST6 NW and a few 18650 p60 lights
    my custom HL has 2 bare hiCRI XPG for flood and a neutral XML for spot

    neutral or warm/hiCRI is WAYY better than cool outdoors IMO

  21. #21
    Flashaholic DIΩDΣ's Avatar
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    Default Re: Zebralight H51C first impressions

    You do lose some lumens between the w and c but I recall seeing some beamshots that looked like the spill was actually brighter on the c version... I might have reconsidered my w purchase had I known that, although I'd have to try and verify that was actually the case.

    Battery choice, well there are many things to consider. 18650 is hard to beat. But I stuck with AA, I have no Li-ion lights or batteries or chargers yet. What other gear do you carry? My camera is also AA and I was debating on getting a steripen that runs AA. My primary and backup lights would be AA. Energizer L91's for the trip to get a little more power and less weight, and good to go. For shorter trips I wouldnt need batts for both the camera and steripen, a set of 4 could be shared. And if an emergency were to arise, batteries from one device could be sacraficed and used in the more critical device (like if I had to hike through the night to get out, I could devote the camera batts to the flashlight, or if I was stuck in the bush for a while, I could save most the batts to run the steripen, etc). H600w is very tempting though.

  22. #22

    Default Re: Zebralight H51C first impressions

    I'm with Diode and have consolidated all my portable electronics around AA Eneloops, including a Garmin GPS and Steripen. The single charger, set of back-up batts, ability to cannibalize, and buy in any store, has been great.... no worries about running out of power for me. The only thing not on AAs is my iPhone, but I EDC an iGo battery xtender, which chargers the phone from 2xAA. Even have a 4oz fold-up (folded size of 2 packs of cigarettes )solar panel that charge 2/4 Eneloops in 3.5/7 hrs for off-grid camping.

    I picked up some 14500s, basically to show off with, but in all honesty, the added brightness is not worth the added Li-ion worries and hassles. I'm a low lumens fan that highly values night vision. I probably change my 1xAA batteries after somewhere between 50 and 100 hours of use (using mostly moonlight and a low single digit lumen level). I don't hike after the sun's down, just relaxing and camp chores... it's great to be able to just leave your light on constantly (moonlight), and not worry about burning batts.

    I have the H51w and a few Quark AAs - these are the only two companies that cater to the AA, low mode, ultra-long run times folks. The ZL is a great, super versatile light - my only complaints are that moonlight is a pretty low frequency PWM (on the 51s), having to lock out the tailcap, and the company doesn't really stand behind its product (among the worst warranties).

    One good thing about ZLs is that you never have to forfeit ultra-low modes even on their powerhouse lights.

  23. #23

    Default Re: Zebralight H51C first impressions

    Quote Originally Posted by insanefred View Post
    Has anyone ever tested Zebralights actual OTF claims?
    I haven't tested them (heck, I haven't even received my first one, yet). But judging from a few quick calculations, it looks like the numbers they use are very close to what the emitter lumens would be.

    Take the H600, for example. The claim is 420 lumens for 2.3 hours on a 3100 mAh cell. That should work out to about a 1300 mA current draw, which would drive an XM-L t6 at around 175% of the flux produced at 700 mA (which, according to cree, is about 270 lumens). Actual calculation is somewhere around 470 lumens. Maybe the OTF is really close to the emitter output. I don't know.

    Also, I haven't read any forum discussion on datasheets and how they are to be used/interpreted. Can't say for sure that I'm doing it right... just seemed like that's how it should be done.

  24. #24
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    Default Re: Zebralight H51C first impressions

    The H600W is also much larger and kind of a funky shape for a headlamp, although I would certainly have no problems getting the flashlight version. Not saying it is really an issue, but the AA version is about the right size. If the 1860 version had the LED in the center I don't think it would look as weird but still kind of long. I'm really leaning towards the AA light as I don't own any AA lights anymore except an L1P that's converted to a twist because the switch is broken.

    As far as OTF lumens the H51W I gave away as a gift was brighter than my Preon High CRI, so they are probably correct and that feat alone is pretty impressive coming from a single AA. I'd be more tempted to get a 18650 light if they made a high CRI version, but those are not out yet.

  25. #25

    Default Re: Zebralight H51C first impressions

    What about the Fenix HL20? I seem to see that one skipped a lot and spec wise it seems the best of the aa headlamps AND it's damn near half the price of the hc51. It has a 4 lumen low for over 2 days, and to me a more useable medium at 48 for 5.5 hours. Couple spare battery, good to go. I've had no issues with my tk40 and tk12(favorite). Tk12 is heavily used and dropped with no issues and I did have an hp20 which was doa but the USA warranty department was great, no hassles. I read about to many issues with the hp20 but none really about the hl20 so I'm really thinking about that one.

  26. #26

    Default Re: Zebralight H51C first impressions

    What about the Fenix HL20? I seem to see that one skipped a lot and spec wise it seems the best of the aa headlamps AND it's damn near half the price of the hc51. It has a 4 lumen low for over 2 days, and to me a more useable medium at 48 for 5.5 hours. Couple spare battery, good to go. I've had no issues with my tk40 and tk12(favorite). Tk12 is heavily used and dropped with no issues and I did have an hp20 which was doa but the USA warranty department was great, no hassles. I read about to many issues with the hp20 but none really about the hl20 so I'm really thinking about that one.

  27. #27

    Default Re: Zebralight H51C first impressions

    Don't know why that double posted. How do you delete a post?

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    Flashaholic* Cataract's Avatar
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    Default Re: Zebralight H51C first impressions

    Quote Originally Posted by themaxx69 View Post
    Don't know why that double posted. How do you delete a post?
    You can't. Don't worry, they won't ban you for it.

    I find the SC/H 31's and 51's have too short of a runtime for real outdoors activities other than twiddling around camp. I'm getting an H600W for hiking. I don't understand why Zebra get the same low runtimes on both AA's and RCR123's, while my PD20 will give me 180 lumens for almost 2 hours on RCR's. Good for weekend EDC, not for critical situations. At least the 600 series give decent runtimes with a decent output.

    Fenix is coming out with a new headlamp (HL30) that obviously aims at the hikers market and I'm definitely getting one of those, although it will most likely be a cool white :/
    Cataract,

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    Default

    Hi guys, I know that some of you guys dosent have just a zebralight, show us your H600 and collection here;

    http://www.candlepowerforums.com/vb/...d.php?t=321756


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    Default Re: Zebralight H51C first impressions

    I got my H51C from illuminationsupply today and I love it (special order). No way I would trade the high CRI for a little more brightness on this unit.

    The beam is very white, just slightly creamy, but it renders colors really well. I still like my Cree HCRI because it looks like an incan and is very yellow, but this is my new favorite. While I kinda think I should have gone for the floody, I think this one will be more versatile, and I still plan on picking up a 502 (maybe) if they ever come out.

    I'll have to bring it down to my parents house sometime so I can compare with my step dads Neutral. I do remember his being brighter and I think a bit warmer than the high CRI which may seem odd to some. I think Zebra made a good choice in using the rebel instead of the cree high CRI, although I wouldn't mind having a cree high CRI headlamp that looks more like an incan too (very warm and easy on the eyes).

    This is the first luxeon based light I have purchased in years.
    Last edited by Justintoxicated; 04-15-2012 at 12:52 AM.

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